- In a large frying pan, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over medium heat.
- Add onion and cook well until it starts to brown; add chili pepper and garlic; continue to cook over medium heat until softened.
- Stir in paprikas, and cook for a few seconds.
- Do not burn.
- Add tomato and saffron, and cook a couple minutes longer.
- Remove from pan and puree to a paste.
- In same pan, heat remaining olive oil and fry rice well until it starts to turn color.
- Add onion paste, bay leaves and thyme; fry for about 5 minutes.
- Stir in water, salt and pepper.
- Bring to a simmer, then turn heat to low.
- Cook for about 25 minutes, without stirring, adding a splash of water if dry and letting a crust form on the bottom without burning.
- When rice is just about cooked and moisture has been absorbed (it shouldn't be soggy), add mussels, pushing them well down into rice.
- Cover and continue to cook until the mussels open.
- Once all the mussels have opened, remove from heat and let rice sit in a warm place for 5-10 minutes before serving with lemon.
Tip: Do not over salt mussels as they release a salty brine while cooking.
Approximate Nutrient Analysis per serving (not including salt to taste):
540 calories, 24 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 40 mg cholesterol, 400 mg sodium, 59 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 5 g sugar, 22 g protein